Promotional image of the film "New Mutants."

Poster art for ‘The New Mutants’. Photo 20th Century Studios.

Since the beginning of the X-Men cinematic universe in 2000, fans have fallen in love with the classic characters of Professor Xavier, Mystique, Magneto, Storm and of course, Wolverine; Wolverine was so popular he had two origin films as well as a solo film “Logan” in 2017. Other characters like Rogue, Jean Grey and Cyclops were also fan favorites as their characters evolved from the early 2000s. Today, a new breed of mutants are coming out. I’m specifically talking about “The New Mutants” (2020). 

Marvel has been pretty good about releasing a new X-Men movie every year. Some films have furthered the classic canon with Xavier and his group of spunky teens with superpowers. Others, like “Logan” and “Deadpool,” have showcased less popular comic characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead and X-23. 

However, fans have to admit that seeing a live-action X-23, portrayed by Daphne King, was probably the coolest thing to grace the X-Men screen. 

After the film “Dark Phoenix” (2019), Marvel’s goal was to release something they’ve never done before. They wanted to jump away from the X-Men series a little bit, and showcase an entirely new group of characters that fans have never seen on screen before. 

The nicest thing about “The New Mutants” is that it gave room for characters to breathe, without being in the constant shadow of the X-Men. 

Marvel attempted to do this in “Deadpool,” failing miserably because they mentioned the X-Men every five seconds. Marvel also tried to do this with “Logan,” but with the presence of a dying Xavier, it was still hard to separate the superhero group with the rag-tag team of orphans featured in “Logan.”

The “New Mutants,” on the other hand, bring a fresh perspective to the X-Men cinematic universe. 

The 2020 film follows five teenage mutants who undergo treatment at a top-secret facility that viewers initially think is part of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Little do we know that it’s actually part of something much darker, and much more sinister. 

The story follows a new mutant named Danielle Moonstar, portrayed by Blu Hunt. Moonstar’s alter-ego is Mirage, but most of the mutants don’t actually use their comic book names in this film, and that is probably a result of this film being another Marvel origin story. There was a big cliffhanger at the end of the film that nicely sets it up for a sequel. 

Mirage believes she was attacked on her reservation by a monster, and that’s what she’s told by the treatment center’s doctor, Cecilia Reyes.

Does the doctor’s name seem familiar to you? At first, I was a little skeptical about who she was. I almost thought Marvel made up a quick kill-off character just for this film, but it turns out that her story is a lot more intertwined with the X-Men than we thought. 

In the comics, Reyes is actually on the “good” side, fighting alongside the X-Men in various missions. In this 2020 film, Marvel has switched up her role, and her character is a lot more ambiguous with light and dark. 

But honestly, who’s here to talk about Dr. Reyes? After the first preview dropped, everyone wanted to know who Anya Taylor-Joy, notable from her role as Casey Cooke in “Split,” was playing. While her Russian accent needed a lot of work, Taylor-Joy played Colossus’ younger sister, Magik. 

Marvel really took their special effects to a whole new level with her character. Magik, or Illyana Rasputin, has the ability to control the dark magic of Limbo. She can teleport, create impenetrable psionic shields and a mystic armor that wraps around her right arm. While possibly being one of the most powerful mutants of this younger generation, the film goes into her traumatic backstory and how she arrived at the treatment center. In struggling with mental illness, she is a tyrant to most of the patients there, but in the end everyone comes to love her. 

Among Magik and Mirage, there is Wolfsbane, Cannonball and Sunspot. All of the characters bring something to this new and slightly unusual Bryan Singer film. While taking on the style of a horror movie, it can still be appreciated by X-Men fans, and you will have to watch it yourself in order to make sense of the entire film. 

My only recommendation: brush up on some mutant history, or you might end up scratching your head for most of “The New Mutants.”

Emilie Rodriguez can be reached at erodriguez@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @emilieemeree.